Banca Transilvania, Romania’s second-largest bank, has finalised the purchase of a 39 per cent stake in Moldova’s third-largest lender Victoriabank. It is the first time since 2007 that a foreign bank has entered the Moldovan retail market as an investor. The deal makes Banca Transilvania the single largest largest shareholder in Victoriabank, which together with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a minority shareholder, now jointly hold a controlling stake of 66.7 per cent in the Moldovan bank. The pair will now offer to buy the remaining shares.
Banca Transilvania’s priorities for Victoriabank include supporting the growth of private enterprise in Moldova, particularly the small and medium-sized business sector.
Victoriabank has a 17 per cent market share with around 540,000 customers almost 100 branches across Moldova.
“We are very proud to have been able to attract a strong strategic partner such as Banca Transilvania to become a shareholder in Victoriabank,” said Henry Russell, EBRD director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. “As a next step the EBRD can consider restarting its lending programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in Moldova by making loans to Victoriabank that permit longer term lending to SMEs, contributing to their growth, job creation and economic growth more generally. We see Banca Transilvania’s move into the Moldovan market as a major step towards the restructuring and modernisation of the country’s financial sector.”
The EBRD is a leading investor in Moldova. In 2017 the Bank invested €130 million in the country’s economy. Since the start of its operations in the country, overall EBRD investment has topped €1 billion across a number of sectors.
Banca Transilvania has 2.2 million clients, over 7000 staff and more than 500 branches across Romania. The bank has been active in Moldova for a decade via its leasing arm, BT Leasing.